By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The global trade battle begun by President Trump over a year ago shows no sign of abating, even though the negative impact on American businesses is mounting.

“We’re gonna be the smart country again, not the stupid country that was taken advantage of by everybody,” said the president last year when he began his push for more favorable trade deals from a range of nations and an end to rule-breaking by China.

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But according to the anti-tariff group Americans for Free Trade, the toll on American citizens has exceeded $20 billion, hurting Massachusetts businesses both large and small.

Charlie Struzzieri of Weymouth (WBZ-TV)

Retaliatory tariffs imposed by US allies like England, Canada and Australia is “definitely” driving away customers, says Charlie Struzzieri of Weymouth, inventor of the EZ Handle, a device he designed to help the mobility-impaired adjust their car seat. He’s been selling them for years at $9.95 a pop, until a customer from England refused to take delivery.

“When it arrived at his house he was asked for an additional 16.20 in euro, which breaks down to approx $18.33 in American dollars,” almost twice the cost of the EZ Handle, says Struzzieri.

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Retaliatory tariffs have dried up the 20 percent of Struzzieri’s sales that come from overseas, and while it’s only a side-business, he’s appalled by what’s happened.

EZ Handle (WBZ-TV)

“Do you think that at any level, White House, Congress, our government understands what small business people like you are going through with this?” we asked.

“No, no they don’t,” he says. “Over the years we’ve seen all these political donors and big corporations. Why should they care about the small guy who doesn’t have the money to support their $25,000 a plate meal ticket?”

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And while the pressure is building on Washington bring the tariff wars to an end, it can’t come soon enough for Struzzieri, who wonders: “How can this happen to the small businessperson like myself all across America?”

Jon Keller